Oxford mental health unit to open for young people

by Raj Das

A new mental health facility for young people is set to open in Oxford, providing much-needed support for children experiencing serious mental disorders. The Meadow Unit, located at Warneford Hospital, aims to offer treatment closer to home and create a highly specialized therapeutic environment for patients.

With funding from NHS England, the £6 million facility will feature an eight-bed unit, recreational facilities, and access to education. It will also include a seclusion suite, de-escalation room, school rooms, and an outside gym and sports area. The design of the facility reflects the input of young people and staff, who named it to reflect the setting and commitment to providing a nurturing environment.

Chief Nurse Marie Crofts, from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, described the unit as “incredible” for young people in the Thames Valley. Its opening has been a culmination of years of hard work by many dedicated individuals.

Katrina Anderson, Service Director overseeing mental health services in Oxfordshire, expressed her pride in the facility, saying, “It’s the realization of hard work for many people.” The new unit will provide a safe and nurturing environment for its patients, with professionally qualified staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to offer skilled mental and physical healthcare.

In addition to its therapeutic environment, the Meadow Unit will feature artwork produced by patients from Highland NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). The artwork, created in collaboration with a local artist supported by the Oxford Health Charity and Oxford Arts Partnership, aims to be interactive and robust, able to withstand whatever life throws at it.

Project Manager Tom Cox emphasized the involvement of young people in the design process, with their input shaping the artwork as well as the colors and themes used throughout the building. This level of engagement ensures that the facility truly reflects the needs and preferences of its patients.

The opening of the Meadow Unit represents a significant step forward in addressing the mental health needs of young people in Oxford. By providing accessible and comprehensive care within a supportive and nurturing environment, this facility will undoubtedly make a positive impact on the lives of many vulnerable children and their families.

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